What are Microplastics?
Microplastics are the piece of plastics which are less 5 millimeters in size. Microplastics are used in manufacturing, industries, and a printing press. They are everywhere like skincare products, toothpaste, clothing fabrics, household items, etc. They are derived from large plastic items that slowly broken into small pieces.
Why are they harmful?
Microplastics have been found in fish and shellfish bound for human consumption. They are the biggest threat to marine life. It has been estimated that an average European seafood consumer ingests 11000 plastics particles in a year.
Another marine food source of microplastics is sea salt. One kilogram can contain over 600 microplastics. If you eat the maximum daily intake of 5 grams of salt, this would mean you would typically consume three microplastics a day (although many people eat much more than the recommended amount).
Microplastics can carry micropollutants such as nonylphenols (an endocrine disrupter), as well as secondary pollutants absorbed from seawater such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These toxins could potentially be passed through animal shells and up the food chain to us as seafood consumers.
What can we do about them?
We need to reduce all the plastics entering the ocean in the first place. Avoid product containing “microbeads”.Avoid products containing plastic microbeads by looking for “polythelene” and “polypropylene” on the ingredient labels of your cosmetic products.Stay informed on issues related to plastic pollution and help make others aware of the problem. Tell your friends and family about how they can be part of the solution. Refuse any single-use plastics that you do not need (e.g. straws, plastic bags, takeout utensils, takeout containers). Recycling helps keep plastics out of the ocean and reduces the amount of “new” plastic in circulation. Always be sure to recycle them.